Molly Pitcher Memorial

Molly Pitcher Gravesite & Memorial
Old Graveyard
Carlisle, Pennsylvania


If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, you might recall that this summer was not a lucky one for me with regard to cameras. In June, my camera was stolen in broad daylight from my motorcycle bag while I was inside a convenience store. So, I returned to using my old Canon until that fateful day in August when Molly Pitcher ate my camera.
The “Old Graveyard” (and, yes, that’s its name) would be the perfect location for a horror movie. From the crumbling stone walls that enclose it, to its menacing-looking trees, to the tumbled and cracking grave markers … it would be enough to make a director think that the set designer had gone more than a little overboard. The “Molly” pictures don’t illustrate the level of decay in this cemetery … but I’m saving the ones that do for another post.

I chuckled to myself as I walked through one of the entrances and about 15 crows took off from the nearest tree. I was heading toward Molly’s statue when I nearly did a splendid faceplant onto the turf. I had tripped over a grass-covered hole – most likely engineered by a rabbit, or a mole, or some other little beastie. After scanning around to make sure that no one witnessed my less than elegant recovery, I made my way over to the statue. I had just taken a second picture when my camera started making a weird hissing noise. The display turned black and then came back on; but with weird dark purple audio-wave peaks and valleys running across it. Sighing, I walked back to my bike and changed the batteries. That didn’t help. In fact, after changing the batteries, the lens and buttons would no longer function at all.

Geez, Molly … if you were feeling picture-shy, you could have simply animated your statue and told me so. Terrifying, yes, but  it would have been cheaper.

Humming my favorite Ray Parker Junior tune, I jumped back on the bike and headed for the Carlisle Wally World to buy another camera. A cheap one this time — because maybe Ray Parker Junior was a little too cocky and I didn’t want to subject an expensive camera to any stray ectoplasm that Molly might spray in my direction.

The true identity of “Molly Pitcher” could reasonably be applied to more than a few women during the American Revolutionary War, but the most commonly accepted “Molly” is Mary Ludwig Hays McCauley. Mary was born in New Jersey and moved to Carlisle in her mid-teens.

Mary’s husband, a Carlisle barber named William Hays, fought in several battles – including the Battle of Monmouth in 1778.  Mary, and not a few other women of her time, had accompanied the army as a “camp follower”. She cooked, washed, and carried pitchers of water to her husband and other soldiers, earning her the nickname “Molly Pitcher.” Legend says that during the Battle of Monmouth, her husband collapsed from heat exhaustion (or wounds), and that she took his place with the gun crew – continuing to fire his cannon. It is purported that General George Washington made her a non commissioned officer after the battle to reward her bravery. To learn more about Mary, see the links at the end of this post.

If you visit Molly’s memorial, you may want to bring a disposable camera … you know, just in case 🙂

Mary’s story in granite

> United States Field Artillery Association “About Mary”

> Molly Pitcher at Wikipedia

> Margaret Corbin – another “Molly”